Friday, December 20, 2013

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 8

Welcome to Day 8! Today I'm so excited that my sister, Caryn, is joining in the Scandinavian Christmas fun this year! I'm so thankful that Caryn and I live close enough to hang out and craft together - we've had a lot of fun craft days this year! Today she will be sharing our year-long advent calendar project that we finished just in the nick of time for Christmas! 

Hi everyone! I am Kathryn’s sister, Caryn, who you might have seen on a few previous blog posts throughout this year. I am mostly Swedish with some Norwegian and a smattering of English and French…but my Swedish heritage wins out! I am a busy mom of two little ones, but in an effort to keep my sanity, I try to get together with Kathryn once a month and work on a Swedish themed craft.

I have fond memories as a kid of my mom each year hanging up an Advent calendar that held miniature candy canes. It was always one of those decorations I couldn’t wait to see hung in its usual place on the wall, and while my three sisters and I would have to wait until our “assigned” day to eat our candy cane, it was always fun to watch the candy canes disappear, the days ticking by, getting closer and closer to Christmas. 

Last Christmas was my first Christmas with two kids—Hannah was just three months and Noah two years old. And while they were still a little young to eat candy canes, I found myself wishing I had an Advent calendar to hang up. Hence the one-Saturday-per-month crafting days began. 

Before I begin, I should preface everything by saying that I was NOT the brains behind this project (despite being the older and wiser sister—hee hee). While I may have brought the idea up to Kathryn, it was more of a “I have no idea how I would even begin doing something like this…can you help me?” kind of idea. To which she graciously obliged and held my hand through it all. So if you have any specific questions on how anything was done—ask her. :-)

We began by researching calendar layouts and patterns…and drinking lots of coffee. We decided we wanted to do something Scandinavian looking (obviously), with little pockets to hold candy canes. We also decided coffee was essential to our success.

Next came time to buy our fabric. This took a few “sessions” to figure out because we wanted to pick out a few different patterned fabrics that all had similar shades of red. This was a little more difficult to do at some of the more commercial fabric stores, so we took a trip down to the fabric district in downtown LA. Success! We found multiple different fabrics that we loved and couldn’t wait to start.

We began by cutting, ironing, and hemming the pockets that we were going to sew onto our linen background. This is when I received my first lesson on using the sewing machine!
It was so much fun! And yes, I will admit there was some truth to Kathryn’s previous blogging—I did talk to myself while sewing…and in my learning and experimentation I did do a “free willy” move or two. :-) Kathryn was a great teacher, and she bailed me out on a number of occasions when I got in a jam. It was so much fun to be able to start visualizing the calendar taking shape at this point.

It then came time to sew everything on to the backing. This is where I slowed down our progress…with my slow, newly learned sewing skills. :-) We took turns sewing on the pockets, and while Kathryn could sew five pockets across in about 15 minutes, I probably took an hour or more to do the same, with a few crooked hem lines to show for it...but I DID IT! We (mostly Kathryn) then stenciled the God Jul on the linen, and sewed everything together. Project complete—candy canes in! Let the
countdown begin!

God Jul! (Oh, and Kathryn, what project are you helping me with next year?)

So glad Caryn and I completed our calenders in time! I had such a fun time working on it throughout the year and I can't wait for our 2014 project!

Come back tomorrow to hear from my bestie, Jessica!


  1. Your advent calendars turned out wonderful, very festive and perfect fabric choices.

  2. OMG You two did such a fabulous job and these are soooooo pretty! I absolutely love how they look. Erica, your post was completely entertaining - I loved how you shared your adventure in such a personal and humorous way. I am sitting here smiling!!

    AND you two have just managed to inspire me! And that's all I am sayin for now!!! :-)

  3. W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L Advent fabric calendars... to re-use year after year, right? FAB choice of red and white fabrics. Looks like a FUN project as 2 sisters shopped in the LA fabric district for a wider selection for 25 pockets to be sewn onto your linen background panel. Your recollections of your mother's Advent calendar adds to your story. THANKS for sharing . . . and your kids enjoyed the daily candy cane treat as the countdown continues. BRAVO for sewing experts. Sarah Helene, Minneapolis

  4. Your advent calendars are beautiful, fabric calendars that can be used each year are such heirlooms. You did such a terrific job stencilling God Jul. Lovely project.